It was announced last week that a grand jury is indicting former major league pitcher Roger Clemens for lying to Congress during his nationally televised testimony under oath to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in 2008.
That stench emanating from the Capitol Building is the not-so-sweet smell of hypocrisy.
Roger Clemons Deserves Scorn, But Not From Congress
This is not to defend Roger Clemens. If Clemens did lie to Congress in his sworn testimony; if he is that arrogant and stupid, he deserves all the ridicule and scorn he has suffered. But should Roger Clemens be facing time in Leavenworth for performance enhancing drugs (PED’s) and then refusing to admit it in front of what is possibly the most infamous group of professional prevaricators in the world? Really?
Congressmen of all political ideologies and parties offer blatant lies to the American public on a daily basis. Quick now, how many campaign promises has your elected Representative or Senator lived up to during this, or any other term ? How many facts about opponent’s records and intentions get twisted like pretzels during campaigns? The only crime resulting from politicians lying is that so many of them get re-elected time after time.
The idea that Congress could indict anyone for lying is laughable. The word integrity belongs in a sentence with Congress about as much as tolerance should be associated with the Taliban.
Congress and Federal Prosecutors Appear Self-Serving
It comes as no surprise that the Feds have targeted Clemens and tainted home-run king Barry Bonds with particular zeal. Clemons and Bonds are the biggest fish in the scandalized baseball waters. Rafael Palmeiro, lied to Congress too, but his name is does not grab headlines the way Clemens and Bonds do. Bonds is currently awaiting trial on charges that he lied to a federal grand jury in the BALCO steroids investigation. The case against Bonds appears to have more holes than the Detroit Lions defensive secondary, but will not deter prosecutors from pursing their objective.
The holier-than-thou manner in which Congress and prosecutors have gone after Clemens and Bonds shows them to be every bit as egotistical and arrogant as the high profile athletes they are chasing. Their pursuit of Clemens, which resulted in a six count indictment for perjury and obstruction, seems more than a bit delusional coming from a body that cannot seem to hold itself accountable for much of anything.
No-one really cares if Clemens spends a day in prison. His punishment, is the loss of his reputation and legacy.
Clemens Legacy and Reputation in Tatters
Roger Clemens will not be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. His career legacy should have been glorious:
354 wins, 4,672 strikeouts and seven Cy Young Awards. The former Red Sox, Yankee, and Blue Jays star’s legacy should have been as being one of the best right-handed pitchers of all-time. Instead, Roger Clemens will enter baseball lore as a pariah; the co-poster child (with Bonds) a drug-scandalized, tainted era in baseball history.
Misplaced Federal Priorities
Doesn’t the federal government have other things to keep them busy these days besides trying to put a faded baseball star in prison? There is no sympathy here for Clemens or Bonds or any other cheating athlete, but it seems as if the House of Representatives time might be better spent turning the economy around, or getting soldiers out of the Iraq, or any one of a thousand other things that are more important.
Roger Clemens is already persona-non-grata in baseball, and will be subject to a lifetime of scorn. Isn’t that enough? Leave him to suffer with that.